Cartago Plans New Bike Paths
The city of Cartago, one of Costa Rica's four largest cities, is set to inaugurate the country's first system of dedicated bike paths. The 3.6-mile bike path will wind through downtown, connecting the Central Market, the Costa Rican Institute of Technology (ITCR), Fello Meza Stadium, Cartago College, the local sports center, and the Los Angeles Basilica.
Funds for Cartago's bike paths come courtesy of the International Automobile Federation (FIA). In 2008, FIA donated $1 million to Costa Rica to improve road safety and to develop related projects. In 2009, Hatillo, a southern San Jose suburb, unveiled the first such project: a $300,000, .62-mile bike path.
The remaining $700,000 is earmarked for Cartago's bike paths, which are scheduled for completion in 2014. The paths will be divided into eight sectors, each with its own color code to help cyclists navigate. In two-way sections, the bike path will measure 6.5 feet wide; where the path is only one way, it will be almost 4 feet wide. Paths will be constructed of concrete or in some cases, already existing pavement. Rest areas are also planned.
According to Francisco Jimenez, the Minister of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), the next three years include plans to build additional bike paths around the country. The most ambitious project is a 16-mile section along the Interamerican Highways between Canas and Liberia; this project is part of existing plans to expand the highway to four lanes.